Have you heard the term life-long learning a lot lately? It’s the catch phrase used in the career and education sectors to emphasize the need to stay up to date with the relevant knowledge and skills required in our fast paced knowledge based economy. Although I must agree with the underlying concept of staying ‘up-to-date’, it can all sound so overwhelming and disheartening. Life Loooooooong Learning – schooling for life, night courses forever – ugh!
So I have decided to come up with a new phrase to describe a workable training solution; Right Time – Right Type Training. You see, the key issue to staying competitive and employable is having the right skills and the right knowledge at the right time for the task or job at hand , not just taking training of any kind, all the time.
Whether I’m coaching people who have just lost their job, decided to change careers, or are looking to get promoted, my approach to re-training is the same. First of all, can we identify specific skills and knowledge that will be needed for moving forward? This is not always the case as many people identify re-training as their next step out of fear and self doubt, rather than on the facts of what employers want. If we can identify skills gaps, then the next step is to find an appropriate method of learning that will meet the requirements of the new job – not more, not less. While returning to school for a full degree, diploma, or certificate program may be the best option, there are many ways to gain new skills and knowledge. There are part-time and evening continuing education classes, on-line courses, in-house employer sponsored courses, industry conferences, on-the-job mentoring and job shadowing, training videos, reading books and journals, and many more.
So don’t get discouraged if the demand for life-long learning seems too much. Think of it instead as identifying the Right Time and Right Type of training for you and your goals throughout life. This is much more positive and purposeful!
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